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Context aware blogging and testing

I have touched this before, and now I think its time to bring it up again. Any story needs a context to fulfill the purpose of people understanding it. This is true for any story, may it be in testing or blogging or anything else for that matter. This is a tough one, since you never seem to be able to explain enough of the context in a blog post.

Recap

In my last post , I actually tried to explain some of the context that I saw as an important part of the posting. In that case, no reader can be sure that the explained context would include more of the unsaid context, and is required to ask for clarifications of this context. That is what happened when James commented on it:

“When I talk about the tester role in a project team, I usually refer to a person that fulfills and executes the tasks needed to achieve quality of delivered software.”

Oh Sigge… This is not what testers do. You know better than that.

Go and listen to Michael Bolton’s webinar “Testers Get Out of the QA Business” then come back and rewrite that sentence.

I wasn’t really sure what he actually meant, since in my perspective I thought I had explained that pretty good actually. Then I thought I was even more correct when I got this message on twitter:

jamesmarcusbach@siggeb Say this 100 times: “Testers do not assure quality. Testers light the way (toward quality).”

This made me think that James had just misread achieve for assure. I am very much aware of the QA discussion about assuring/assisting. When one is dug into that context as James is, I actually believe that a misinterpretation of achieve with assure is possible.

Correction

I would actually say that the “help the team achieve quality” that I wrote could be another wording for “light the way towards quality” just as James suggested instead. Would that be totally off the edge, you think? But yes, it could of course be misinterpreted as well as any story. When I later dug into the post suggested by James, through another link, I found the general meaning what I actually meant, described by Cem Kaner.

Quality Assistance–that’s what testers do. We help. We investigate. We learn things. We report them clearly. We make sure that people understand what we have found and what its significance means. We provide the good data that is so important for understanding and improving the quality of the product. That’s important, but it’s not “quality assurance.”

If inserted into my previous post. What would you answer to my questions, in the specific context given? What kind of help is needed by this tester? What kind of investigation will help the project learn about the product to make it better? What I am after is actually skills and experience required from THIS tester.

What should a developer in this project expect from the tester?

What do you think a developer usually expects from the tester?

What kind of skills are required by the tester?

What kind of tasks will the tester do? Start/mid/end of the project?

Summing up

A context aware tester knows when to stop asking for more context, just as much as a context aware blogger knows how much context to serve in a post. I am a novice blogger, and I am still unsure on how much context to include in my posts. But I will learn by experience and practice. If you need more context to answer my questions, then ask me to give more, or even better, answer and explain the context you are thinking of. Thank you James for the challenge that made me dig deeper into my own and others thoughts on the topic.

While exploring around these issues, I also found this, which might as well raise some questions about differences in the words context-awareness and context-driven with my present title in mind. This, as well as some reasoning on specific wording will be foundation for future posts. =)

Now I am going on vacation, so I am unsure on how much I will be able to answer more questions on the context, but please try to help me answer the questions that I brought up in my last posting as well as this one.

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